More Equity Needed in Access, Enrollment, Success for Computer Science Education

July 15, 2019

Computer science jobs pay well yet access to, enrollment and success in computer science courses in California schools varies by gender, race/ethnicity, income and geography, a new report said.

"Computer Science in California Schools: An Analysis of Access, Enrollment and Equity" was released in mid-June by the Computer Science for California coalition, the Sacramento County Office of Education and Oakland's Kapor Center, which advocates for diversity.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2018 for jobs in computer and information technology ranged from $53,470 for computer support specialists to $118,370 for computer and information research scientists. Median pay for U.S. workers was $38,640 in May 2018...

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Teaching Young Students to Write by Hand Before Moving on to Keyboarding Can Help Improve Reading Fluency as Well

By Brooke MacKenzie - Rep: July 15, 2019

Technology is an undeniable fact of everyday life and can support students’ learning. But there are limits to that: Completely replacing handwriting instruction with keyboarding instruction in elementary school can be detrimental to students’ literacy acquisition. Why are handwriting and letter formation so important?

Research has demonstrated a correlation between letter-naming and letter-writing fluency, and a relationship between letter-naming fluency and successful reading development. There’s a strong connection between the hand and the neural circuitry of the brain—as students learn to better write the critical features of letters, they also learn to recognize them more fluently. This recognition of letters leads to greater letter-writing fluency, which leads to greater overall reading development...

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CDE Releases “California Practitioners’ Guide for Educating English Learners with Disabilities”

July 15, 2019

On July 3, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced the release of the much-anticipated “California Practitioners’ Guide for Educating English Learners with Disabilities.” The guide will help with identifying, assessing, supporting, and reclassifying English learners with disabilities.

“This resource will benefit the teachers and other professionals involved in the education of more than 220,000 identified English learner students with disabilities,” said Thurmond. “In California, we serve all students. Identifying what each child needs and addressing those needs is essential so that all students can reach their full potential.”

The guide came about from Assembly Bill 2785 in 2016. It added “Education Code” 56305, requiring the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop guidance to local educational agencies on identifying English learners as individuals with exceptional needs...

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Millions of Kids Take Standardized Tests Simply to Help Testing Companies Make Better Tests. (Really.)

By Valerie Strauss - Rep: June 12, 2019

Millions of U.S. students take standardized tests every year with the sole goal of helping testing companies make better tests.

They are called “field tests,” and students take them at different times of year – often in spring and early summer – to test questions so that companies can determine whether they are constructed well enough to use on future exams. New York is completing its field tests this week.

Kids don’t get a grade but take them anyway, sometimes without their parents’ knowledge.

(If this sounds to you as though students are being used as guinea pigs for testing companies, well...)...

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Stanford Research Study

Schools That Received State Funds to Expand Career Training Programs Saw Lower Dropout Rates

By Carrie Spector - Rep: June 3, 2019

For decades, high school students who weren’t considered “college material” were steered onto a vocational track with limited academic requirements, which may have helped them develop job skills but left them unprepared if they wanted to continue their education.

That’s beginning to change as high schools move toward a new model known as career pathways, which combine a technical education with college-prep coursework while linking students with local employers for real-world experience.

A new study by a Stanford education researcher shows that this approach pays off...

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Early-Morning High School Classes Clash with Teenage Biology – But Change is Hard

By Danielle Dreilinger - Rep: June 3, 2019

The name of the study said it all: “Sleepmore in Seattle: Later School Start times Are Associated with More Sleep and Better Performance in High School Students.” In 2016–17, Seattle Public Schools pushed back high-school start times by 55 minutes, from 7:50 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. And just like that, students slept an average of 34 more minutes per night and their grades went up 4.5 percent, researchers found.

It was yet another entry in a long bibliography of studies showing the benefits of a later start time for teenagers (including “Rise and Shine” by Jennifer Heissel and Samuel Norris, in this issue). This growing body of evidence is in line with broad expert consensus that early school days are in conflict with adolescents’ biological sleep patterns and need for 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. In 2017, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine officially recommended that middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m....

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Five Things to Know about California’s New Health Ed Framework for Schools

By Abby Hamblin, San Diego Union Tribune - Rep: May 20, 2019

A new health education framework approved this month by the California State Board of Education offers guidance on sex education that the board’s president says reflects how “life has become more exponentially more complex.”

The “2019 Health Education Curriculum Framework for California Public Schools” was approved on May 8 despite what the Sacramento Bee described as “large protests.” The California Department of Education says the framework – which is optional for school districts – is “designed to make classrooms more inclusive and help students access the knowledge and skills necessary to grow into healthy adults.”...

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Nine Strategies for Getting More Students to Talk

By Rosie Reid, co-winner of 2019 California Teacher of the Year - Rep: May 7, 2019

While it is possible to learn by listening, I’ve found that oral participation leads to greater gains in student literacy and engagement. English language learners in particular benefit from ample talk time, but they are not the only ones.

Yet I’ve also found that without careful planning, a few students do most of the talking while the majority of the class remains silent. My students all have ideas, but only some of them share those ideas on a regular basis. Adding wait time after I ask a question helps more students get into the conversation, but still the more confident students are more likely to raise their hands...

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Researchers Develop Interventions to Reduce Disparities in School Discipline, Improve Students’ Relationships with Their Teachers

By Melissa De Witte - April 19, 2019

Brief exercises that address middle school students’ worries about belonging can help black and Latino boys develop better relationships with teachers and sharply reduce their risk of receiving discipline citations years into the future, Stanford University psychologists find.

Their research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that guided exercises in two or more 25-minute class sessions early in sixth or seventh grade reduced teacher reports of discipline issues – such as for disrespect, defiance or insubordination – among black and Latino boys by 57 percent over two years in one study. In a second study, the reduction for black boys was 65 percent from sixth grade through 12th grade...

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Helping Students Overcome Test Anxiety

By Youki Terada - April 4, 2019

A rapid heartbeat. Sweaty palms. Clouded thoughts. For many students, the biggest obstacle to passing a test isn’t what they know, but the anxiety they feel.

Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on a student’s ability to concentrate on tests, leading to poor performance and, ultimately, fewer opportunities to succeed in school. A new study highlights an effective solution: Guide students to view stress differently—as a boost instead of a burden. Simple 10-minute writing exercises given just before a test helped students see stress as “a beneficial and energizing force” that could help them...

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